28 January 2012
Article found in Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World
Philip E. DeVol
Having the energy and drive to prepare for, plan, and complete projects, jobs, and personal changes.
WISDOM AND VALUES
We need wisdom to know what we should and can change. To figure out what we should change, we need to understand our values.
Values describe what life means to us, what is important to us. They influence our motivation. We move toward the things that we value and away from things we don’t. For example, if a man or woman values money highly, he/she will make decisions and take action toward things that make money. He or she will be motivated to make money. If a someone dreams of and values a certain house in a certain neighbourhood, they will make choices and take steps to get that house. They are motivated to get that particular house. If a person values relationships highly, they will make choices and do things that maintain those relationships. They will be motivated to keep relationships.
Some people become disconnected from their values. When that happens, they lose their motivation and end up sitting in front of the TV for hours, flipping through the channels. It’s as if they’ve lost their purpose for living.
Another thing we must have to change is motivation. Motivation is simply described as being ready, willing, and able.
When we first think about changing something we put the idea on a scale. On one side of the scale is what we have now, and on the other is what we could have—or what we want. For us to be willing to change, the scale has to be tipped toward the “what we want” side – or toward the future. The scale tips back and forth while we figure out if the change is going to be worth all the effort it will take. Sometimes the change we want might be in conflict with other things we value. For example, we have already learned that to achieve we must give up some relationships, at least for a time. So … if we want to go back to school (because we value education), the scale may tip back and forth between going to school and our desire to be with our friends.
The key to being willing is the size of the gap between what we have now and what we might have – the difference between what is and what could be. The bigger the difference, the more willing we will be to change.
Putting this in the casual register (context), one guy said, “Life is a s — sandwich, and every day is another bite.” This guy may not like s — sandwiches, but he seems willing to eat one every day. If he was to recall what a bowl of cherries tasted like, he might decide to make some changes so that he could eat more cherries and less s—. The gap between what he has now and what he might have could help him become willing to change.
To be able to change, we must feel confident that we can do what it takes, that we know the steps, and that we can imagine ourselves moving ahead. We have to think positively and be determined. When we want to change (when we’re willing) but can’t see a way to do it, we often shift back into thinking that we are fated, then slip into living for the moment again and so lose our motivation.
To be ready, we have to move beyond the “I’ll do it tomorrow” and the “yes, but” phase. This requires that we overcome our fear of failure and our fear of success and push through toward what we want.
It is said that motivation is a simple mental strategy that we can learn to use ourselves. It has been pointed out from many motivational speakers and teachers that we are always motivated for something. In fact, sometimes we are too motivated. Some of us are too motivated for chocolate, sex, shopping, and God knows what else. In that case, we have to learn some anti-motivation strategies, which includes self-control and impulse control.
But what happens when we see that big difference between what we have now and what we could have? What happens when the things we value seem out of reach? What do we need to get motivated?
There are two basic thinking strategies about motivation. Those who “move toward” what they want and those who “move away from” what they don’t want.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ‘MOVING TOWARD’ THINKERS
Jump out of bed in the morning, ready to go!
Plan ahead for things they want to do, such as meet friends, go fishing, etc.
Pick friends who keep them going, who interest them.
Take advantage of opportunities when they arise
PROS OF BEING ‘MOVING TOWARD’ THINKERS
Get things done
Get the jobs because they match what most employers are looking for.
CONS OF BEING ‘MOVING TOWARD’ THINKERS
Don’t think through the problems carefully enough
Rush into things, putting the “pedal to the metal.”
Have to learn things the hard way
CHARACTERISTICS OF ‘AWAY FROM’ THINKERS
Lie in bed until the threats of what will happen from not doing anything become too great
Wait to change things until it really gets uncomfortable
Pick friends who don’t interest them
Wait to change jobs until they just can’t stand their job another minute
PROS OF BEING ‘AWAY FROM’ THINKERS
Careful about getting into things
Remember that bad times to stay motivated
Good at identifying and fixing problems
CONS OF BEING ‘AWAY FROM’ THINKERS
Afraid to try things
Get too involved in problems
When the pain and pressure to change are off, so is the motivation
Motivation comes and goes with the internal pressures and threats
Less attention is given to where they’ll end up when they’re looking back at the problem instead of looking ahead.
Much higher stress, risk of health problems.
It is best we learn to use both motivational strategies with an emphasis on the “moving toward” strategy. We can do this by monitoring our motivational strategies and practicing new ways of thinking and acting.
* This is one of the many discussions, teaching and learning that took place in the woman's group I was fortunuate to be a part of. I AM definately a 'Moving Toward' thinker but every now and again I do need a hug that is received from any one of my many guides that are always near.